3 Immortal Alternative Rock One-Hit Wonders from 1997

The 1990s had a slew of memorable bands and songs. From Nirvana to Dr. Dre, Dave Matthews Band to Britney Spears, Eminem to Pearl Jam, the decade was overflowing with names that will go on to live for eternity. But that doesn’t mean every hit single from the era was composed by a Hall of Fame name. In fact, quite the contrary.

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The decade was also rich with one-hit wonders. Songs from bands that didn’t necessarily go on to have a distinguished career, but nevertheless were able to create a track that has since stood the test of time. Here below, we wanted to explore three of these songs. A trio of alternative rock tracks that continue to please music fans. Indeed, these are three eternal alt-rock one-hit wonders from 1997.

[RELATED: 3 Eternal Solo Songs by John Lennon that Have Stood the Test of Time]

“Sex and Candy” by Marcy Playground from Marcy Playground (1997)

This droning-yet-titillating song from the Minneapolis-born band Marcy Playground was one of those songs that if you were a tween or teen in the 1990s, made you squirm in your seat if the song came on the radio. But if you were with friends, it was one of those tracks you belted out at the top of your lungs. The single, which hit No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, was inspired by a real moment when lead singer John Wozniak and his then-girlfriend were interrupted during an intimate time. The interrupter said the room smelled like “sex and candy” and he later used that phrase when writing the song, which he did in under an hour one night at 4 a.m. The track remains popular today, and has even been covered by Maroon 5. On it, Wozniak sings,

Hangin’ ’round downtown by myself
And I had so much time to sit and think about myself
And then there she was, like double cherry pie
Yeah, there she was
Like disco super-fly

I smell sex and candy here, mmm
Who’s that lounging in my chair? Mmm
Who’s that casting devious stares in my direction?
Mama, this surely is a dream, yeah
Yeah, mama, this surely is a dream, dig it

“Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger from Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone? (1997)

This Seattle-born rock group’s hit song earned attention thanks to local radio station KNDD and its iconic host Marco Collins. From there, the track earned more radio play on the L.A. station KROQ. Soon it was a mainstay on radio all over the country thanks to its spastic performance from lead singer Sean Nelson and his part-poetic, part-manic lyrics about paranoia, ‘zines, insecurity, sex, and sitting atop flag poles. The song was as sticky as it was buzzing and today it remains a favorite of those who both love Seattle rock culture and 1990s pop music. On the offering, Nelson sings,

I had visions, I was in them
I was looking into the mirror
To see a little bit clearer
The rottenness and evil in me

Fingertips have memories
Mine can’t forget the curves of your body
And when I feel a bit naughty
I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes
(But no one ever does)

I’m not sick but I’m not well
And I’m so hot ’cause I’m in Hell

“Save Tonight” by Eagle-Eye Cherry from Desireless (1997)

Not only is this song one of the catchiest from the year, but it might just be one of the catchiest songs of all times. The Swedish singer Eagle-Eye Lanoo Cherry has one of those voices that sets in like dusk. And on this offering he employs it on a chorus that talks about fighting the break of dawn. It’s just supremely pleasant and on the acoustic-driven track, the vocalist sings,

Go on and close the curtains
‘Cause all we need is candlelight
You and me, and a bottle of wine
Gonna hold you tonight, uh, yeah

Well, we know I’m going away
And how I wish, I wish it weren’t so
So take this wine and drink with me
Let’s delay our misery

Save tonight
And fight the break of dawn
Come tomorrow
Tomorrow I’ll be gone
Save tonight
And fight the break of dawn
Come tomorrow
Tomorrow I’ll be gone

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Photo of Harvey Danger via YouTube/No Sleep Records

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